Before Drug Abuse Took Him

The hospital that day was like a graveyard. Everyone was quiet. As he told his story, I cried. Everyone did. My wife, my patients even those who were very sick. It got to all of us.

I run this charity hospital alongside my beautiful wife, Clarice. We deal with rehabilitation of youths who are drug addicts, and also take care of AIDS patients. On this particular day, there was this uncanny atmosphere around the hospital premises. It was as if the angel of death was lurking in the shadows. Little did we know that we would lose him that day.

In a way, he is my most special patient. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t usually have favorites, but there was something about him that called out to me. He had been at the hospital for six months, and all the while I’ve been wondering what made him to have this illness. Well, that day I got my answer.

That day, I was in my office going over some documents when a nurse rushed in and told me that Paul was asking of me. I immediately rushed to him. Looking at him, I knew he did not have a long time anymore. As I approached his bed, I held his hand. His hands were hot and sweaty. He was crying and had a difficult time speaking — we’ve been battling to treat his tuberculosis but it seemed that we were going to be defeated this time around. He also had AIDS, and was at the last stages of the disease.

I looked into his eyes and saw a great destiny going up in flames, I saw a promising young man being reduced to nothing. He coughed and opening his eyes, looked at me and said,

“Doctor, you’ve been wondering how I got to this state, right? Well, I’ll tell you. I was a bright student. The top in my class. I was every parent’s dream child. I always knew I had a great destiny, everyone affirmed that. One of the things my parents hammered on when I was coming to school for the first time was that I should desist from drugs. They made me swear never to touch any form of drug. I religiously obeyed them until my third year, when I fell in love with a girl.”

I was surprised. “A girl?” I asked, “I thought falling in love means makes you a better person? What happened?”

After a series of wheezing coughs, he continued, “yes, that was what I thought but things are not usually what they seem. I was foolishly following her up and down; until we went for a party. It was at the party that I found out that she was a drug addict. She smoked, and injected herself more times than I can recall. I was shocked. She asked me to join them, but I declined. The guys there started making fun of me, calling me all sorts of derogatory names. In order to prove to my love that I was worthy of her, I asked for a wrap. As I took the wrap, my parents’ warning came back to me. But I quickly dismissed it. As I took a drag of the substance, I was transported to another realm; it felt as if I was floating. I was ecstatic.

“That was how I started smoking marijuana, and before long I started injecting various substances too. It was through an injection I used that I got this disease.”

“What about the girl?” I queried.

“The witch!” he spat out with so much vehemence. “She was the one that infected me!” Cough. “I wish she burns in hell. Well suffice it to say that my parents disowned me when they found out. I had no place to go to. That was when my friend told me about you.”

“Well Paul, that’s a touching story, but—”

As I was talking, his coughing spells increased. He was shaking, his body was sweaty. His eyes, they were bloodshot. He looked at me with so much fear that I felt my heart constrict. I knew that he was going to die. But I prayed. Oh! I prayed against it but I knew. Few seconds later, he died, still holding my hands.

I cried then. For him, for his unrealized destiny, for his family, for so many of our youths who abuse drugs and think it’s the way of life, they are going into perdition. Then I prayed for them, asking God to deliver them from the evil of drugs. Then I went back to my office telling the nurse what to do about him.

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